2014 Icon Awards shortlist: Emerging Design Studio of the Year 17.11.14

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  • Sea chair by Kieran Jones

  • Nelly Ben Hayoun

  • Currency for Reciprocity Bank by Studio PSK

  • Erasing Bricks by Study O Portable

  • QR U? privacy glasses by Thorunn Arnadottir

Thomas Thwaites scooped the prize in 2014. Here is this year's shortlist of emerging design studios. The award is sponsored by Bisley


Jones is an experimental designer and maker whose interests lie in craft and sustainable ideas for the future. His Volcano Project (2013) proposed harnessing lava flows to cast building components. The Chicken Project (2012) was a miniature factory for turning the uneaten parts of a chicken into clothes and products. In 2011, he teamed up with Studio Swine on Sea Chair, a device for combing beach plastic and compressing it into furniture. His work has been exhibited at Somerset House, the Barbican and the V&A, and he is currently a senior tutor on Central Saint Martins' MA Textile Futures course. 

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Jones's Cricklewood mobile town square project


Energetic French experience designer Nelly Ben Hayoun boldly goes where no man (or woman) has been before. Whether collaborating with NASA to create an International Space Orchestra or investigating the Chernobyl exclusion zone, her work crosses architecture, design, science and technology to make us think about the world and beyond in new and unexpected ways. Her infectious enthusiasm for creating offbeat projects, noted in Icon's Future 50 issue (122), has even hardened critics thinking: "If anyone can do it, Nelly can." 

Ben Hayoun was one of our Future 50

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Ben Hayoun's Disaster Playground film 


University of Dundee graduate Patrick Stevenson-Keating started the speculative design Studio PSK to "prototype the near-now" – in relation to changing attitudes to society, technology, science and design. Collaborations with research experts from a wide range of disciplines has led to projects such as I Wish to be Rain, an inflatable balloon that carries and disperses funeral ashes into rainclouds, and Shackleton, an investigation of the lunar landscape for the Selfridges Festival of Imagination. As one of the Design Museum's 2014 Designers in Residence, he is currently investigating the value and meaning of currency.

Read about Stevenson-Keating's project for Designers in Residence at the Design Museum

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"Disrupting finance" – Patrick Stevenson-Keating's project at the Design Museum's Designers in Residence


London-based designers Tetsuo Mukai and Bernadette Deddens make small objects that can be carried around easily. Among these are Fuzz bowls (2010), a series of colourful ceramic resin vessels that were followed by the Fuzz tables (pictured below); Abacus Lights (2013), a lighting installation made from salvaged computer waste; and Plastics/Diamonds Are Forever, a bracelet that uses two materials with very different cultural associations. Study O Portable's acclaimed annual exhibition, Workshop For Potential Design, is a testing ground for new ideas and presents collaborations with designers such as Peter Marigold and Paul Elliman. 

Read about Study O Portable's work at London Design Festival this year

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Study O Portable's Fuzz sidetable 


Icelandic designer Thorunn Arnadottir studied at the Royal College of Art and the Iceland Academy of the Arts before setting up her own design studio. Her graduation project was QR U?: an expression of the quick response code aesthetic in African beadcraft. Pyropet is her best-known product: a sweet, kitten-shaped candle that burns away to reveal a menacing metal skeleton inside. At Design March in Reykjavik, she showed Berg, for cabinet-making workshop Brunas. The set of three storage boxes resemble hexagonal basalt columns common to the Icelandic landscape.

Read our interview with Arnadottir, who was also one of our Future 50

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Arnadottir's Berg collection of side tables, stools and storage unites 

The Icon Awards take place on 4 December. Read the full shortlist here





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